More Photos
Loading...
New
New
Holidays

Antarctica - Weddell Sea and Polar Circle Expedition

Available Departures: Mar

16 days from

US$10,230

without flights
Polar
Guided Group
LEISURELY LEISURELY

Antarctic Cruise, visiting The Weddell Sea, Elephant Island and going beyond the Polar Circle

Trip Code: PEW
Holiday Grades

Our Holiday Grades Explained

To show the relative difficulty of our holidays, each trip is graded on a scale of 1 to 12, with 12 being the most challenging. Although we have tried to make our grading system as clear as possible, it cannot take into account your personal interests, abilities or experience. If you have any questions about the nature of a particular trip or its suitability for you, please read the 'Is this holiday for you?' section or contact us.

 1 - 3 LEISURELY
1 - 3 LEISURELY

Suitable for most people in good health, holidays at this grade include only limited amounts of activity.

View leisurely holidays
4 - 6 MODERATE
4 - 6 MODERATE

Suitable for reasonably fit individuals, such as weekend walkers and cyclists. There can be the occasional more difficult day.

View moderate holidays
7 - 9 CHALLENGING
7 - 9 CHALLENGING

Physically challenging holidays, where you need to be prepared before you go.

View challenging holidays
10 - 12 TOUGH
10 - 12 TOUGH

Our toughest holidays, involving many long days, often in isolated areas. A high level of fitness and previous wilderness and mountain experience is essential.

View Tough holidays

Antarctica - Weddell Sea and Polar Circle Expedition

Highlights
  • Visit some of Antarctica’s most wildlife-filled waters and islands

  • Explore the much less visited Weddell Sea - home to the beautiful Weddell Seal

  • Sail through the stunning Crystal Sound and venture beyond the Polar Circle

  • Expert team of expedition polar leaders onboard


At a Glance

Accommodation & Meals
  • 15 Breakfasts
  • 13 Lunches
  • 13 Dinners
  • 1 nights Hotel
  • 14 nights Ship
Overview

We board our ship and set out from Ushuaia - the world’s southernmost city, and cross the famous Drake passage. From here we enter the truly breath-taking landscapes of Antarctica; we are greeted by colossal ice bergs and possibly the beautiful sight of a humpback whale surfacing in the distance. This 16 day adventurous polar expedition continues on to combine the rich animal life of the Weddell Sea with the surreal shores and islands of the Antarctic Peninsula. We visit key landing sites, such as the wildlife-filled islands of Crystal Sound and the iconic site of Shackleton’s legendary Elephant Island. Sailing to less commonly visited areas, along with opportunities throughout the holiday to join the longer walks, this holiday allows you to experience so much more of Antarctica than your average cruise.

Is this holiday for you?

This is principally a touring, sightseeing and wildlife viewing holiday, with minimal exertion required. If you choose to go ashore, you will need to make the transfers from the ship to a Zodiac and onto land. When on land, long and short walks are offered where possible (long walks being about 2 - 3hours), these are optional but of course can offer spectacular views. The walks are also …

This is principally a touring, sightseeing and wildlife viewing holiday, with minimal exertion required. If you choose to go ashore, you will need to make the transfers from the ship to a Zodiac and onto land. When on land, long and short walks are offered where possible (long walks being about 2 - 3hours), these are optional but of course can offer spectacular views. The walks are also weather dependent.  Whilst on deck or during excursions, you need to be prepared for cold temperatures. Please note that you must have full waterproofs to participate in the Zodiac excursions. You should also consider that some of the classes of accommodation involve the use of bunk-beds. The itinerary remains flexible, according to the variability of the weather and sea conditions at these southerly latitudes. A suggested itinerary for the holiday is given, but may be subject to change.

Why KE?

KE's very own Sarah has travelled on this fantastic adventure - she is more than happy to answer any questions you may have.


No surprise costs.
All zodiac excursions, landings and all meals on board are included in the price.

KE Expert

Sarah Brotherton, Adventure Travel Consultant

Read Bio
Share
Tour Leader Bio
Sarah Brotherton
Sarah Brotherton

Adventure Travel Consultant

About Sarah:

Sarah joined KE back in 2016 as part of our Customer sales and Support Team. Her own travels have taken her to Thailand for a 5-week holiday exploring what the country has to offer, the Inca Trail & Rainbow Mountain in Peru, trail running in Chamonix and a road trip in Italy from Bari up to Pisa enjoying the sights (and lots of gelato) along the way. Next on the list is Vietnam and Bali. Her KE Adventures have taken her to Macedonia, Albania, Morocco, Norway, Nepal and Turkey. Her favourite has to be cruising the Norwegian Fjords on a sailing boat; snowshoeing by day and searching for the Northern Lights by night. Recently Sarah has enjoyed her first taste of our Self-Guided range by walking the west section of the Lycian Way. A very close second behind Norway! She would love to travel to one of the Poles and see the wildlife in its natural habitat. Having lived in the Lakes most of her life, she loves to walk the fells on weekends and spend her holidays exploring further afield.

    

Itinerary

Meet at the group hotel in Ushuaia. The holiday starts with the overnight stay at the group hotel.

Accommodation

Hotel

This morning is free for independent sightseeing in and around Ushuaia, the worlds most southern city, or for any last minute purchases you need for the voyage. In the afternoon we embark our ship and sail through the famous, scenic waterway of the Beagle Channel.

Accommodation

Ship

Meals

B

Drake Passage. Our adventure begins with a two day sailing crossing of the 625 mile Drake Passage, named after the 16th century English explorer Sir Francis Drake. We have time to familiarise ourselves with the ship and its common areas including the lounge with bar with it's large panoramic windows. We will start our daily lectures and get to know the guides and crew.

Accommodation

Ship

Meals

B L D

Drake Passage. We cross the Antarctic Convergence and we may see albatross, petrels following the ship's wake as well as whales and we look out for our first sightings of icebergs.

Accommodation

Ship

Meals

B L D

We will arrive early to the famous Point Wild, Elephant Island, where Shackleton’s crew made their first landing after the loss of their ship, Endurance. This inhospitable spit of land is a favorite among our guests, and if conditions permit, we will offer activities around the point before setting off for the Weddell Sea.

Accommodation

Ship

Meals

B L D

Today you enter the wondrous Weddell Sea, a relatively unvisited area in which we hope to carry out activities in Erebus and Terror Gulf. We may also visit such places such as Beak Island and Devil Island, which boast some stunning scenery as well as the pack ice for which the Weddell Sea is famous.

Accommodation

Ship

Meals

B L D

As we continue to explore the area of Erebus and Terror Gulf, we look for new opportunities for activities. You may also visit Vega Island, experiencing the wilderness of Antarctica in its most remote places.

Accommodation

Ship

Meals

B L D

Now we sail down the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula, entering the Orleans Strait. Here we hope to see humpback and orca whales as we sail toward Mikklesen Harbor for our afternoon activities.

Accommodation

Ship

Meals

B L D

Passing the Lemaire Channel, you next arrive in the area of Port Charcot, where there is a cairn that was erected by the French Antarctic Expedition of 1903 - 05. In the afternoon, we head to Petermann Island to see a great variety of birdlife. You might also enjoy Zodiac cruises among icebergs that are highly popular with leopard seals and crabeater seals. Minke whales, humpbacks, and gentoo penguins can also be found here.

Accommodation

Ship

Meals

B L D

Today we reach Crystal Sound, viewing the area’s beautiful ice formations and wildlife before landing at Detaille Island. This remote island was once home to a British research station that is now an historic monument.

Accommodation

Ship

Meals

B L D

Landing at Detaille Island. This remote island was once home to a British research station that is now an historic monument.

Accommodation

Ship

Meals

B L D

Next we arrive at the Yalour Islands, a small archipelago composed mostly of isolated rocks and one principal island that offers us a rewarding landing. Home to Adélie penguins and some of the most southerly gentoos in the world, Yalour also has small patches of bearded and crustose lichen, including xanthoria, buellia, caloplaca, and usnea. Extensive moss beds and some Antarctic hair grass (Deschampsia antarctica) can be seen as well.

Accommodation

Ship

Meals

B L D

We have our farewell to Antarctica in the Melchior Islands for our final activities before heading towards the Drake Passage.

Accommodation

Ship

Meals

B L D

We leave early morning after breaking our last camp. We sail towards the open sea of the Drake Passage. We can enjoying some final lectures by our expedition staff and catch some final glimpses of the birds and whales in this extraordinary part of the world.

Accommodation

Ship

Meals

B L D

Our final day onboard, we can reflect on our adventure and relax as we return into Ushuaia.

Accommodation

Ship

Meals

B L D

Departure Day. Disembark Ushuaia. A single timed transfer to Ushuaia Airport is provided.

Meals

B
Download Trip Notes
The Route
Point Point
Boat

Essential Information

We've compiled some of our Frequently Asked Questions to help you learn more about this amazing trip.

  • Expert Expedition staff,

  • All accommodation,

  • All meals whilst on board and B&B whilst in Ushuaia,

  • All shore excursions and Zodiac cruises with expert expedition team,

  • Waterproof boots supplied (men's USA sizes 8-14 and women's USA sizes 3-9),

  • Single timed airport transfer Ushuaia Airport on disembarkation

  • Travel insurance

  • Tips for staff

  • Airport transfers on arrival in Ushuaia

  • Transfers to/from vessel other than as described

  • Dinners and lunches whilst in Ushuaia (if applicable)

  • Airport departure taxes

  • Transfers between airports in Buenos Aires

  • Hotel night in Buenos Aires (if applicable),

  • Miscellaneous expenses - drinks and souvenirs etc.

On arrival in Ushuaia you will need to take a taxi to the hotel.

We have included a night in Ushuaia for you, if you would like another additional night, just in case of major flight delays please do call us for a quote.

On return to Ushuaia after your voyage you will disembark the ship at approximately 8am. A transfer from the port to the airport is provided after disembarkation between 8-9am. No other transfers are included. You should not book flights before12 midday on this day.

If your flight is in the early hours of the morning on departure we advise that you book a hotel room in Ushuaia. You will need to take a taxi from the port to the hotel and then to the airport for your flight. Please do let us know as soon as possible if you require extra hotel nights.

Hotel and ship contact details and an emergency number will be provided with your booking confirmation.

Breakfast only is included while staying in Ushuaia. All meals while aboard are included in the holiday price. We recommend you allow about US$25 per meal in Ushuaia.

On board the ship a diverse range of international dishes are available. Meals are prepared and catered by professional chefs and all meals are included in the holiday price. Special dietary requirements, including vegetarianism, can be accommodated with advance notice (please advise at the time of booking). Coffee, tea and water are all provided free of charge. All other beverages, alcoholic and non-alcoholic, are not included and can be purchased in the dining room or the lounge areas.

Whilst we can cater for vegetarians, albeit sometimes with a more limited choice, we cannot always provide special diets.  Due to the nature of some of the trips that we operate and the countries in which we operate them, it can be very hard (and sometimes impossible) to cater for a wide range of dietary choices and you may have to supplement your diet with food/snacks from home.  If you have specific dietary requirements please do speak to our sales team and they will be able to advise you whether or not we will be able to offer your specific choice.  Please note that we are unable to provide separate menus and cannot accept liability for any problems arising from special dietary requirements or intolerances.

Whilst we can cater for vegetarians, albeit sometimes with a more limited choice, we cannot always provide special diets.  Due to the nature of some of the trips that we operate and the countries in which we operate them, it can be very hard (and sometimes impossible) to cater for a wide range of dietary choices and you may have to supplement your diet with food/snacks from home.  If you have specific dietary requirements please do speak to our sales team and they will be able to advise you whether or not we will be able to offer your specific choice.  Please note that we are unable to provide separate menus and cannot accept liability for any problems arising from special dietary requirements or intolerances.

During this trip the group will spend 1 night in a hotel in Ushuaia and 13 nights on board the MV Plancius, the MV Ortelius or the MV Hondius (Depending on departure date). Standard cabins on the MV Plancius, MV Ortelius and MV Hondius are quad berth cabin with porthole. All cabins have en-suite facilities. All accommodation is on a sharing basis. If you are travelling by yourself you will be paired up with another single client of the same sex.

Upgrades are available to triple or twin berth with porthole, twin berth with window, and superior/ suite. Depending on availability, it is also possible to arrange a single cabin.

Please contact the office for upgrade and single cabin prices. Please note that if you wish to upgrade ensure that you book early to avoid disappointment.

An international team of Polar experts and field guides is enthusiastic about sharing their in depth knowledge with lectures, briefings and field excursions. Lectures are selected and relevant to the destinations we travel to. We cover major topics such as marine biology, geography, geology, glaciology, ornithology and history. Our staff is skilled, trained and qualified in the activity they are in charge of: mountain guiding, photography, kayaking, zodiac driving. Expedition guides organize the informative ship program and actively guide our shore excursions in different languages but always English as well.

Prices onboard are in Euros or US dollars. It is not practical to set a recommended amount for personal spending money on a holiday like this. All meals while on board are included in the trip price. The main extra spend on board will be on drinks and this will very greatly from person to person. A drink onboard costs from Euros 2.50. On board ship, bar bills can be put on a tab and paid at the end of the cruise by credit or debit card or in cash Euros or US dollars You will also need some money for any meals taken in Ushuaia and for tips. As a guide, we recommend you allow $10 - 15 per day for tips to your crew and expedition staff. It is possible to withdraw local currency at ATM’s in Ushuaia, but we recommend that you bring a minimum of US$200 in cash for emergency situations where you are unable to withdraw money from ATMs.

Prices onboard are in Euros or US dollars. It is not practical to set a recommended amount for personal spending money on a holiday like this. All meals while on board are included in the trip price. The main extra spend on board will be on drinks and this will very greatly from person to person. A drink onboard costs from Euros 3.50. On board ship, bar bills can be put on a tab and paid at the end of the cruise by credit or debit card or in cash Euros or US dollars You will also need some money for any meals taken in Ushuaia and for tips. As a guide, we recommend you allow $10 - 15 per day for tips to your crew and expedition staff. It is possible to withdraw local currency at ATM’s in Ushuaia, but we recommend that you bring a minimum of US$200 in cash for emergency situations where you are unable to withdraw money from ATMs.

The customary gratuity to the ship’s service personnel is made as a blanket contribution in one envelope at the end of the voyage which is divided among the crew and staff. You will receive detailed guidelines aboard. Tipping is a very personal matter and the amount you wish to give is at your discretion. It is better for the crew and staff, if you can give them cash, either US Dollars or Euros. You may give individually and / or communally as a personal ‘thank you’ to one or more of the ship’s personnel. As a guide, we recommend you allow $15 - 20 per day for tips to your crew and expedition staff.

For this holiday you should take one piece of luggage and a daypack. Luggage with wheels is useful for this holiday. For international flights please check your baggage allowance with your airline (the baggage limit on the domestic flight between Buenos Aries and Ushuaia is 15kg). 

Please note that you should be able to carry your own luggage.

For this holiday you should take one piece of luggage and a daypack. Luggage with wheels is useful for this holiday. For international flights please check your baggage allowance with your airline (the baggage limit on the domestic flight between Buenos Aries and Ushuaia is 15kg). 

Please note that you should be able to carry your own luggage.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR THOSE TRANSITING THROUGH THE USA

You will require an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation), and you must get this before boarding any US-bound aircraft or ship, or entering on a land border. The fee is USD$21 and you should apply for it at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/. With the ESTA complete, the majority of British Citizen passport holders can enter the US under the Visa Waiver Programme, VWP. You will be required to have a passport with an integrated chip. Note that if you have travelled to Cuba, Iran, Syria or North Korea since March 2011* you will have to apply for a visa rather than the Visa Waiver Programme (* a full and up to date list of countries can be found on the US government website here.)

IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR THOSE TRANSITING THROUGH CANADA

All citizens (except for USA citizens) will require an eTA (Electronic Travel Authorisation), and you must get this before boarding any Canada-bound aircraft or ship, or entering on a land border. The fee is CAD$7 and you should apply for it at http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/eta-start.asp

 

Visa Argentina

UK and USA passport holders do not require a visa for short stays.

Along the Antarctic Peninsula, temperatures as high as 15°C have been recorded, though during the Antarctic summer temperatures are typically between 0 and 2°C. The wind will be a significant moderating factor and you must come prepared for ‘real feel’ temperatures as low as -20°C. The Antarctic is technically classed as a desert averaging 166 mm of precipitation per year. Although you are unlikely to experience precipitation, storms can and do occur.

As a reputable tour operator, KE supports the British Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office's ‘Travel Aware campaign to enable British citizens to prepare for their journeys overseas. The 'Travel Aware' website provides a single, authoritative source of advice for all kinds of travellers and we recommend that prior to travel, all KE clients visit the official UK Government website at travelaware.campaign.gov.uk and read the FCDO Travel Advice for their chosen destination. North Americans can also check out the U.S. Department of State website: www.travel.state.gov for essential travel advice and tips.

KE treat the safety and security of all clients as the most important aspect of any trip we organise. We would not run any trip that we did not consider reasonably safe.  Should the FCDO advise against travel for any reason, we will contact everyone booked to travel to discuss the situation.  We receive regular updates direct from the FCDO and are in constant touch with our contacts on the ground.  If you have any questions about government travel advice, please call our office.

It is an essential condition of joining a holiday with KE Adventure Travel that you have a valid travel insurance policy to cover the cost of medical treatment and to protect the value of your holiday in the event of cancellation.  When taking out insurance please ensure the policy you choose covers you for the activities and altitude included in your itinerary.

For appropriate insurance cover we recommend Campbell Irvine Direct.  Please go to our Travel Insurance page for further information and to get a quote.

Please note that a paper copy of your travel insurance is required if you are travelling to Huaraz and the Huayhuash region.

The following checklist should help you with your packing. As a general rule, you should always try to keep the weight of your equipment to a minimum. Dress on board is informal. Beware of tight clothing that leaves no room for trapped air, which is an excellent insulator. Wool, silk and some of the synthetic fibers, like polar fleece, retain heat better than cotton.

You must bring the following items:

  • Casual shoes / Trainers or similar for onboard

  • Rubber boots (Wellington boots)*

  • Walking shoes*

  • Socks (Warm, high wool or similar socks worn over a thin pair of silk, polypropylene socks should provide enough warmth and insulation for your feet. Bring several pairs of socks, since you will inevitably get your feet wet)

  • Waterproof jacket

  • Trekking trousers

  • Waterproof pants/trousers

  • Thermal baselayer - leggings

  • Underwear

  • Baselayer shirts / fleece

  • Casual shirt and/or T-shirts

  • Fleece jacket or warm jumper

  • Sunhat

  • Warm hat

  • Scarf and/or neck gaiter

  • Sunglasses

  • Gloves or mittens (Thin polypropylene gloves under warm outer gloves is a good combination)

  • Headtorch and spare batteries

  • Sun protection (including total bloc for lips, nose etc.)

  • Water bottles 1 Litre x1 (we encourage re-filling water bottles rather than single use plastic)

  • Washbag and toiletries

  • Antibacterial handwash

  • Small towel

  • Rucksack 25 litres

  • Selection of dry bags (to keep rucksack contents dry)

  • Small daypack

  • Warm jacket (down)

  • Basic First Aid Kit including: Antiseptic cream, throat lozenges, diarrhoea treatment (Imodium), painkillers, and plasters. Glucose tablets and multi-vitamin tablets are also a good idea.

The following items are optional:

  • Warm Ski pants

  • Shorts
  • Spare gloves
  • Ski goggles in case of bad weather
  • Travel clothes
  • Camera (in a dry bag)
  • Binoculars
  • Penknife (remember to pack sharp objects in hold baggage)
  • Repair kit – (eg. needle, thread, duct tape)
  • Seasickness remedy

Snowshoeing Equipment:

  • Snowshoes are provided. You can make use of the supplied rubber boots to attach the snowshoes to or you may wish to wear waterproof ankle height walking boots

  • Waterproof ankle height walking boots & gaitors (see note above)

  • Walking poles

  • Reusable cloth bag for shopping (to avoid plastic bags)

Mountaineering Equipment:

Please ensure your rucksack/backpack has straps to tie snowshoes to when not in use.

  • Mountaineering boots (B2 Min)

  • Gaitors

  • Walking poles

  • Suitable additional clothing: Down jacket / mountain gloves / salopettes / socks etc

  • *Helmet, Ice-axe, Crampons (with anti-balling plates fitted), Climbing harness, Karabiners

Camping & Mountaineering:

Pee bottle: e.g. a wide opening Nalgene bottle (special adaptors for ladies are available).

* Notes

Rubber boots / Wellington boots:

Complimentary waterproof boots are supplied for the following sizes: (please confirm your preffered size to KE at least 8 weeks prior to departure)

 

Men’s USA size 8-14 / UK size 7 to 13½ / Europe 41 to 48½

Women’s USA size 3 to 9 / UK size 1 to 6 ½ / Europe 33 to 40

 

If you have different feet sizes to these you should bring your own rubber boots. These should be rubber, waterproof boots that are just below your knee with a strong, ridged non-skid sole.

Mountaineering Boots:

You need to take a pair of warm and reasonably substantial mountain boots that are sufficiently rigid to be securely fitted with crampons. The B2 (semi-rigid) boot rating is appropriate.

Crampons, ice axe, helmet and harness with karabiner are all provided along with all ropes and snow shovels etc. If you wish to take your own crampons, helmet, ice axe and harness you are welcome, but it is not necessary.

Walking shoes - There is the opportunity to sightsee around Ushuaia. If you intend to make the most of these opportunities, you should make sure that you take suitable footwear.

 

DATES & PRICES

Private Departure?

Gather a few friends, family or club and take over your own departure.

2025

Dates

Adults from

Deposit

Status

More Information

  • Antarctica - Weddell Sea and Polar Circle Expedition
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: PEW /01/25/
  • This trip begins on Sat 8 Mar and ends on Sun 23 Mar
  • This departure is guaranteed. Secure your place today with a deposit of US$2,300
  • Download Trip Notes

2026

Dates

Adults from

Deposit

Status

More Information

  • Antarctica - Weddell Sea and Polar Circle Expedition
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: PEW /01/26/
  • This trip begins on Sun 8 Mar and ends on Mon 23 Mar
  • This departure is guaranteed. Secure your place today with a deposit of US$2,500
  • Download Trip Notes

Land Only Information

The LAND ONLY dates and prices are for the itinerary joining at the hotel in Ushuaia. For clients making their own flight arrangements, Ushuaia Airport is the most convenient.

ZEN_HOLIDAY_DATES_PRICES_LAND_ONLY_USD_NOTICE

Download Trip Notes
Field Required
Field Required
Field Required
Footer logos
Your Wishlist
No Wishlist Items

Start your next adventure.

Click the heart icon on the search or holiday pages to save a holiday to your wishlist.

Holiday Search